Where were the world’s record highest and lowest temperatures recorded?
— Beth Meyerson, Chicago
Of all the world’s locations that are likely candidates for extreme temperature occurrences, two places rank above all others: deserts for heat and the polar regions for cold. Among the world’s deserts, the Sahara is the largest. Stretching across the 3,200-mile span of North Africa, the Sahara makes up the world’s largest area of extreme heat. Tiny by comparison, Death Valley, Calif., which is within the Mojave Desert, is the site of the world’s highest temperature: 134 degrees, recorded July 10, 1913. The Antarctic ice cap is the earth’s largest and most bitterly cold region, and on July 21, 1983, Vostok station recorded the world’s lowest temperature: 129 degrees below zero.